Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sends Finland and perhaps Sweden to NATO. Finland is probably only weeks away from submitting an application for membership, while Sweden may follow suit. Putin’s attempts to pull NATO further away from Russia’s borders may thus have the opposite effect. 1340 kilometers is the border between Finland and Russia. Finland will probably soon be a NATO country.
The relationship between Finland and Russia historically
Finland was in practice part of Russia in the period from 1808-1917. After Russian troops immigrated to Finland in 1808, Finland became a Russian Grand Duchy. During this period it was partly a despotic government. For part of the period, the Finnish language was banned.
Gradually towards 1917, Finland gained some internal autonomy. During the Russian Revolution, Finland broke with Russia. Russia at that time had enough of its own strife and keeping the great empire united. This gave Finland the opportunity to break out.
The Winter War and the post-war period
After Stalin and Hitler signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union attacked Finland in November 1939. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was an agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany that divided Europe in two. Which territories should be under Germany and which should be under the Soviet Union. Feel free to read my blog about this deal. The Winter War revealed that the Soviet Union had major military problems. Old equipment and bad clothes. This probably led Hitler to choose to invade the Soviet Union earlier than he had originally intended.
After World War II, Finland tried a line of neutrality. In fact, the Soviet Union and Finland signed a “friendship, cooperation and aid agreement” in 1948. Part of this agreement was in fact a defense pact. The agreement placed strong restrictions on Finland’s foreign and security policy. The agreement lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, when Finland terminated the agreement.
In the period since the agreement was terminated, Finland has always tried to maintain a line of neutrality. A NATO membership in NATO is far-fetched, even though the country has moved more and more away from its neighbor to the east and is looking west. Finland’s membership of the EU is the best example of this.
How will Russia react to Finland as a NATO country?
Putin will hardly clap his hands enthusiastically in the hands of a Finland that will become a NATO country. Many fear what may happen in the period from application being sent to Finland being admitted as a member. A form of security guarantee during this period is reasonable to believe that Finland will demand. A guarantee from some countries to stand up if Putin chooses a similar line as in Ukraine. What Putin thought would be a triumphant march to gain control of his Ukrainian Slavic brethren has become a quagmire. Putin’s desire to scare countries away from his sphere has had the exact opposite effect. Putin scares countries to apply for NATO membership. Finland will soon be a NATO country.